A ROLLER COASTER Publishing Ride

Welcome to DARE TO BLOOM, Shannon! Readers, we’re part of Shannon Vannatter’s blog tour this month: see below for the other sites and GIVEAWAY information.

An award winning central Arkansas author, Shannon is a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. She once climbed a mountain wearing gold wedge-heeled sandals which became known as her hiking boots.

Shannon has twelve published titles and is contracted for three more. Her books are available at christianbook.com, barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, harlequin.com, and barbourbooks.com. Learn more about Shannon and her books at http://shannonvannatter.com and check out her real life romance blog at http://shannonvannatter.com/blog/ with weekly book giveaways.

Cowgirl

Please describe your latest novel’s history, Shannon. 

Reuniting with the Cowboy started out with a working title of Rodeo Crossroads. It was supposed to be the final book in my rodeo series. But then the Heartsong Presents line closed leaving four books on my contract in limbo. But Harlequin decided to honor my contract through the Love Inspired line.

So now, Reuniting with the Cowboy ends the rodeo series in Aubrey, TX and kicks off a new cowboy series set in Bandera.

How did your main character evolve? 

Cody Warren was a side character in my last title, Rodeo Reunion. He’s a bull rider and was in a bull wreck and the heroine of Rodeo Reunion went to see him in the hospital since they were friends. They were bemoaning their lack of love lives. And he told her he loved Al. . ., then the pain meds knocked him out. The heroine asked around until she found out Ally Curtis was his friend in high school. Ally was her vet, so they knew each other. She gave Ally the idea to start a pet visitation program for the rehab center Cody was in, to promote her animal shelter and so they’d run into each other. It worked and the heroine left them alone, but when she came back to check on them, Ally was gone. She decided to hang up her matchmaking hat and leave them alone.

Where did you get your ideas for the plot of this novel? 

I’ve long wanted to write Cody’s story. He was the hero’s brother in Rodeo Queen, four books ago. He was the class clown, cut up, and showed up again in the last book. Ally was also mentioned in Rodeo Queen as the heroine’s best friend, so I knew she was the perfect heroine for him. I’m really glad it worked out so I could write their story.

I’ve always been an avid pet lover and considered being a vet. But the thought of having to put an animal to sleep stopped me. I got to vicariously live that life through Ally with her vet practice and stray shelter.

My husband’s aunt and a man in our church had the same health issue. So when I needed Cody to be hiding a secret medical condition, I knew a lot about this one. My husband’s aunt had surgery and is okay except for balance issues. The man in our church didn’t know his condition until it should have been too late. He shouldn’t have survived, so he’s a walking miracle.

How did the concept of piling troubles on your heroine play into your writing decisions?

I needed Cody to be even closer than living next door, so I put her shelter in jeopardy for being overlimit with cats. That way Cody could volunteer at the shelter and help her come up with ideas to publicize it. And when her shelter gets broken into, Cody realizes someone has it out for her and becomes her protector.

Please tell us about the challenge of weaving backstory into your novel – did that occur naturally, or did you have to “wrangle” with it?

It was easy. I had already set up that Cody and Ally were friends back in high school in the previous book, but Cody had fallen for her. In this book I expanded it—when her dad died, Cody comforted her and ended up kissing her. Things turned awkward and he left for the rodeo. But for ten years, they’d both been trying to come to terms with that kiss.

Could you share some of your feelings with us as you worked through the closing of the Heartsong Presents, and how you see this experience in hindsight?

It’s a long, eventful story. I’d been through it before, so that helped. My 1st four books, including the first Rodeo title were published by Heartsong Presents owned by Barbour. Just after I turned in book two of my rodeo series, I got the e-mail that Barbour was closing HP. They said my remaining two contracted books would probably eventually release as e-books only. My editor no longer had a job, so in effect my champion who loved my writing was gone. I truly thought I’d never be published again. I cried. And wailed. And moaned. To my husband, my critique partner, and anyone who would listen.

Three months later, I went to the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference and the editor in charge of wrapping up Heartsong told me to write book three, that someone was buying the line. I went from despair to giddy in two seconds flat. I wrote the book and just about the time I finished it, I learned Harlequin had bought the line. After riding the publishing roller coaster alone for so long, I decided it was time for an agent. I’d already had two which didn’t work out. My third agent is the right fit for me and has been a blessing.

By this time, Harlequin had convinced a few retail stores to carry Heartsong Presents for six months. HP had always been a direct to consumer book club, not in stores. Book three of my rodeo series released during that six months and sales soared. I was all excited again and my agent sold three more rodeo books to HP to continue my series. But then Walmart decided to cut the size of their fiction section and they didn’t have room for HP after the six month period. Sales plummeted and I felt like the line was dying.

I told my agent I wanted to write for Love Inspired. My first three books were set in Arkansas, my home state. I decided I wanted to do some more AR books. We sent a proposal for a three book series. They were rejected. She told me that the LI editor who oversaw the HP line really liked my rodeo books and convinced me to submit another series to HP.

By this time, I realized I had three dangling characters from the rodeo series, so I wrote a proposal for three more books in the series. HP wanted it, plus three more books and said I could figure out the last three titles when we got there. I decided Harlequin must have big plans to revive HP. I wrote the first two books, started the third, and sent a proposal for the final three—the Arkansas books that LI had rejected. My editor was always good about getting right back to me. But I heard nothing. Until I got an e-mail that Harlequin was ending the Heartsong Presents line. They really tried, but the line had been struggling for so long, not even Harlequin could revive it.

This time, I didn’t cry. I knew God had this and something would work out. My agent talked to the editor at LI, who’d overseen the HP line, about my rodeo books and how the final one, plus three more books were left on my contract. The editor said she’d love to move the remaining four titles to LI, but she wanted cowboy books, and there was no guarantee. But for the moment, they still considered me contracted. All I had to do was submit four stellar cowboy proposals that would fit the LI line. Talk about pressure. I had the final rodeo title all ready. But the other three were Arkansas and decidedly not cowboy. I decided to take the plots and characters, move them to Texas and cowboy them up. It took about a year of going back and forth with Harlequin, but I finally got the news that my remaining four books would release through LI.

I tell people I made it to LI by slipping through the back door that began when Harlequin bought HP.

What has your writing career taught you that you might not have learned otherwise, and what keeps you at this business? 

I’ve learned not to cry, or wail, or moan, or complain. God’s got this. And if he wants me to keep being published, he’ll take care of it. I keep trooping along because even with all the ups and downs and roller coaster of emotions, I still love to write. I love coming up with characters and their stories. I love making them do what I want them to—my crit partner says it’s like playing paper dolls on paper. I was a Barbie girl, so I play Barbie’s on paper. And most of all, I love weaving spiritual truths into their stories.

Reuniting with the Cowboy cover

The Cowboy Next Door 

A charming cowboy moving in next door shouldn’t be bad news. But veterinarian Ally Curtis knows Cody Warren—she’d never forget the boy who left her when she needed him most. Cody is doing everything he can to show his beautiful neighbor he’s not the wild bull rider he once was, from helping her find homes for her beloved strays, to protecting her when her business is threatened. But Cody has a secret that keeps him from fully reaching out. Yet as they continue to work together to promote her shelter, he can’t keep himself from hoping that Ally might have a home for him…in her heart.

Get your copy now:

Amazon           Christianbook         BarnesandNoble

Connect with Shannon: Shannon’s Facebook, Shannon’s Goodreads, Shannon’s Pinterest, Shannon’s Twitter, and Shannon’s Amazon Author Page

NOW FOR SHANNON’S GIVEAWAY:  Comment here to enter the drawing for a copy of Reuniting with the Cowboy. Ten copies will be split among names drawn during the blog tour from Sept 1 – 27. One winner will receive a Noah’s Ark themed memory board personally crafted by the author. This fabric is special since it was in the Vannatter nursery 14 years ago and goes along with the float the characters in the book build for a parade. Great for a shower gift or displaying kids or grandkids. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on Oct 8th.

Animal memory board

Follow the tour:

Sept 1: http://rosemccauley.com/

Sept 3 & 7: https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

Sept 5: http://jenniferhallmark.com/blog/

Sept 5 –http://www.gailkittleson.com/blog/

Sept 12 & 15 – http://www.shannonvannatter.com/blog

Sept 13: https://jenpheobus.com/

Sept 16: http://www.jamesrcallan.com/blog/

Sept 21: http://www.faithfriendschocolate.com/

Sept 27th: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/blog/

 

 

 

Worth Forgiving

First of all, Janet, your title and cover are fabulous! If I had to pen your goal for this novel it’d go something like this. God’s love overrides our past failures and the injustices of life. By embracing his healing and guidance, we move out of the shadows into the light. Did I hit it pretty close?

Sounds good to me, Gail. My motto or tagline is “Writing with God’s Hope,” so all my books deal with addictions, compulsions, or hang-ups that can’t be healed without God. The first book in the series, Worth Her Weight, focuses on food addiction. Worth Forgiving hits drug addiction as well as prejudice against those who are ex-cons. The twelve step programs remind us we’re powerless over such thing. Like you said, only God’s love can override past failures and injustices. In this new book, we learn not only about forgiving others, but the difficulty in forgiving ourselves.

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 You have definitely mastered the art of piling troubles on your heroine! How did you learn to do that? 

I once took a course that reminded us to be “mean” to our characters. I guess that idea stuck. We must raise the stakes and make it even harder to reach our goal in order to accomplish a satisfactory ending.

Tell us about your intended audience. I’m assuming it’s Christian readers, mostly women? Do you have an underlying desire to create empathy in your readership for the down-and-out of our society? 

Oh, wow, Gail. You hit the nail on the head, to repeat an old, forbidden cliché. My target audience for both books in the series is women 25-50 with some church background. For thirty years of my life, I suffered from food addiction. I struggled with depression, and my self esteem hit bottom before I was ready to let go and let God.

Twenty years ago, God healed me emotionally. I am not the same person I was through my twenties, thirties, and forties. Through His guidance and grace, I lost one hundred pounds, quit biting my nails, and came out of the shadows to accomplish His purpose

Before I even lost all my weight, I began teaching weight controlling classes. I have a heart for those who fight food addiction or compulsive overeating. I am blessed that through my suffering, God gave me more empathy for those who suffer any addiction. Even when I’m not teaching, I have others who contact me for prayer or encouragement for their problems. I feel so blessed by God to be used in the thing that is my weakest area. Isn’t that just like God?

I haven’t read the first book in this series yet, but assume we get to know the heroine’s sister Lacey much better in that one. Which character do you identify with most? How did that character first occur to you?

I would have to say Lacey. Though Worth Her Weight isn’t my story, still Lacey coped with many things that I dealt with such as the suicide attempt. Despite that, I find that I can identify with others like Katie in Worth Forgiving who Satan has captured and built mental strongholds that only God can break.

Please tell us how creating the two books differed for you. I’m into writing a series, also, and it’s fun to hear more details about this process. 

The most fun part is visiting the old setting and old friends that you “met” while writing the first book.

The hardest part is that everything in one character’s life affects the other characters, so it’s imperative to keep good notes. Since Katie was in prison for three years, her four-year-old daughter would now be seven. Since Larry was injured in the crime that Katie perpetrated, I had to remember to give him a limp. Just stuff like that. Good, better, excellent notes, I hope. LOL!

Finally, give us a little background about YOU – how did you begin writing fiction, and what did you do before? 

I’ve always loved writing fiction. That’s my passion. When my daughters were little, I wrote and sold a few short stories. However, I settled into a writing career after I retired in 2006 from being a bookkeeper and medical coder.

I had finished ten novels by the time I received my first contract. All were adult fiction, except for one young adult, and that’s what sold first. Victoria and the Ghost debuted in 2012.

Divine Dining: 365 Devotions to Guide You to Healthier Weight and Abundant Wellness was God’s surprise, my one and only, so far, non-fiction. He woke me up one night and gave me fourteen devotions to help overeaters. I thought it was just to help me, but four years and three hundred and sixty-five devotions later, both Pen-L Publishing and myself believed it was a tool to help others. Later, this year, they will release a workbook to compliment the devotion book, so my non-fiction days aren’t completely over. Neither are my fiction days, because the third in the Wharton Rock series should release in 2017.

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Worth Forgiving Second in the Wharton Rock Series

Prejudice and mistrust hinder an ex-con, drug addict’s new beginning. The state of Texas releases from prison Katie Smith. Full of optimism, she sets out to get a job, rent her own place, and make a home for her eight-year-old daughter, but Katie gave away her daughter three years ago. She could use a friend, but her past choices threaten to doom her to continued failure.

Larry Pullman graduated from seminary with high marks, but having no wife makes finding a preaching job almost impossible. It doesn’t help that running from God as a teenager gave him a past he can’t undo. All he needs is an ex-con, drug addict messing up his life, but then why did God lead him to her? Or did He?

Isn’t it enough that Lacey Chandler gave her sister’s daughter a home? Does that mean she has to clean up Katie’s messes forever?

Could it be that Katie is not Worth Forgiving?

PURCHASE LINK: Worth Forgiving

Janet is giving away an e-book of Worth Forgiving to one commenter here. Thanks so much for your visit, Janet. 

Have You Opened the Gift of Grace? – August 22, 2016

Welcome to Lucinda Secrest McDowell, author of “Dwelling Places.”

She writes about the marvels of the gift of grace

Best gift I ever received.

Grace. In fact, it quite literally changed my life.

Sadly I had been a Christ follower for many years before I actually opened this precious gift I’d been carrying around. I never understood that grace was God’s gift we don’t deserve and can never earn.

So I kept trying to please God and get everything ‘just right’ so that He might love me more and consider me worthy. Striving was my dwelling place and despair was my landing place every time I failed at perfection. Until one day, in His mercy, God stooped down (the Hebrew word for grace means “to stoop”) and lifted me up.

He reminded me that I am already loved, already accepted, already chosen for kingdom work — not because of anything I have done — but simply because I am His own. And that, dear friend, is the Gift of Grace.

Because we live in a world of reward and punishment, it is difficult to grasp the idea of receiving something we don’t deserve. And yet that’s the very nature of grace as Paul explains, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9)

Perhaps this acronym says it best – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Jesus willingly gave up His life on the cross and rose from the grave so that we would be set free from sin, death and the enemy of our souls.

Frederich Buechner explains “The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you will reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.”

I used to dwell in a place of judgment, performance, rules, hurry and approval. Nothing was enough. I could never rest; there was always, always more to do. Grace reminds me that my love and the outpouring of my life for the kingdom flow from knowing with confidence that, though I am not worthy, as God’s child I am totally received and loved.

Out of that I pour myself at Jesus’ feet every morning, asking “How can I spread Your grace to others today?”

Do you need more grace in your life? The great news is it is already here for you if you are a child of the King. Just like when I’m home in the South and order a big breakfast at the diner. When I choose bacon and eggs on the menu, the plate always arrives with grits as well. “Honey, you don’t have to special order grits, down here they just come with!” the waitress cheerfully explains.

Grace ‘comes with’ your commitment to Christ. So, open the gift and dwell in the love. Then, be sure and pass it along to others.

©2016 Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press, 2016)

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Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. Whether co-directing the “New England Christian Writers Retreat,” mentoring young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net

Please leave a comment for Cindy to qualify for her giveaway drawing of one signed copy of Dwelling Places.

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Oh MY!

Tonight when my husband and I returned from a walk at the close of this rainy Iowa day, we were looking up at the roof for some reason, and I spotted something that looked like a bird…sort of. But bigger.

Lance is nothing if he’s not persevering. He hung out until he captured an image of the creature…I can’t believe it! We have cardinals, house wrens, hummingbirds, and of course, crows in our yard. But this…never thought I’d see the like. Not here in our yard.

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Isn’t this the cutest baby owl? I’ve never spied one before, and this one added excitement to a rather gloomy, although productive day here in the Midwest. I’m a lot like my fiction characters, I guess – it doesn’t take a whole lot to make my day.

And this experience also goes to show that you can enjoy someone else’s hobby almost as much as you enjoy your own. Barn owls have made appearances in my historical fiction, and this little one…oh yes, you can bet she (or he) will pop up somewhere in a future story.

A Steeple and a Rainbow

It really doesn’t get much better than that for a photographer. My husband, a patient guy, has become a walker, after years of running. And on his walks, he captures some amazing shots. So I’m sharing them here today, just because I can – and because they may brighten someone’s day or week.

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Behold an Iowa evening sky at its finest. My heroines would take heart from  such a vision, especially during their worst times, when all seems lost and futile.

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Here’s another – words fail me, as they often do at something truly beautiful. And it’s good to note that this was actually quite a stormy night.

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Adjectives… gorgeous, spectacular, stellar. Heartening to remember that in life’s storms, there’s light, though we may have to wait for it to peep through the clouds.

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Way to go, Lance. Thanks for the beauty.

An Adirondack Historical Romance Author

I’d like to introduce the Amazon Top Ten bestselling historical romance author of the Women of Surprise series. Tracey Lyon sold her first book on 9/9/99! Her books have been translated into several languages and are available in print, digital and audio formats.

Tracey lives with her husband in New York’s Hudson Valley region. She has appeared on the award winning Cox Cable Television show, Page One and on the stage of Lady Jane’s reading salon in New York City. She holds membership in Romance Writers of America and American Fiction Christian Writers and Novelists Inc.

A true upstate New Yorker, Tracey believes you should write what you know. Her historical romances are all set in the New York State area. Tracey considers herself a small town gal who writes small town romances. You can learn more about Tracey and her books by visiting her website at www.traceylyons.com.

So, Tracey, tell us a bit about the Adirondacks.

I love this area of New York State. We used to vacation there when our children were little. It’s a place that’s far away from the maddening crowds of downstate NY!

When you arrive it’s like all of your troubles disappear. I love setting my books in the mountain regions of my home state. Did you know the Adirondack park is the largest National park?

I didn’t – fun to learn something new. Tell us about your latest release, please.

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When schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell meets rugged William Benton on a train platform in Albany, it appears they have nothing in common. He isn’t the sort of fellow a proper young woman of the 1890s would ever speak to, much less become involved with. But when she arrives at her small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Elsie is offered a job as caregiver for this mysterious out-of-towner’s niece and nephew, who’ve been tragically orphaned. Heartbroken for them, she accepts.
Unknown to her, William is an undercover Pinkerton agent posing as a lumber-company foreman. He’s never wanted family—his work is too dangerous. Yet as Elsie transforms his house into a home and he spends time with the children, he feels drawn to family life—and to Elsie.
As a good Christian, Elsie is troubled by William’s secrets…though she does find him intriguing. And when a sinister figure from her past arrives, Elsie and William will have to trust in faith and newfound love to protect their unlikely family from danger.

Buy link https://www.amazon.com/Changed-Agent-Tracey-J-Lyons-ebook/dp/B01AI1UUIM/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1467816680&sr=1-1&keywords=a+changed+agent#navbar

Social Media links
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TraceyJLyonsAuthor/
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/traceyjlyons/
Amazon author page http://www.amazon.com/Tracey-J.-Lyons
Twitter: @traceyjlyons

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Tracey’s giving away one commenter’s choice of print (US only) or Kindle edition of A Changed Agent. The winner of this novel will be notified in one week.

Amazon best selling historical romance author

http://www.traceylyons.com/

Small town sweet historical romance
A Changed Agent Waterfall Press July 2016

Mid-July Days

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July – a time for butterflies … and humidity. Ah, how does one describe such a phenomenon? In In Times Like These, Addie’s worst times occurred in winter, and in spite of Iowa’s sticky July and August, her garden and friendship carried her through.

December through March, though, the weather forced her husband Harold inside more often, increasing the chances of him having a temper tantrum.

We have a cute five-year-old visiting us right now, with as much energy as corn has kernels. Interesting how a child can make you feel young again as you share his three-foot view of the world. But at the same time, you realize how creaky your joints have become and how desperate you are for a real live nap.

 

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Back in 1942, Addie adored her rural mailman’s little grandson Willie–the sweetest little guy ever. Ahhh…..what enormous brown eyes and  that precocious smile! But one day, he wandered away and ended up in the cornfield, a true farm danger.

It all worked out, but today, with a sauna just outside our door, even at six in the morning, I can almost feel the corn leaves rustling against Willie’s face, And so it is, July in Iowa. IMG_9406 IMG_9410

Through Raging Waters

This week, I’m delighted to introduce Renee Blare, author of The Snowy River Chronicles. 

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Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains with her husband, crazy dogs and ornery cat, she continues to serve her community as a pharmacist while penning her Christian stories any chance she can get.

Reading some comments about Renee Blare’s novel entices me:

Raging Waters is indeed a wonderful read and I also highly recommend To Soar on Eagle’s Wings. So hurry and catch up—I’m waiting for Book Three! – DiAne Gates, Author of Roped

Once again, Renee Blare has delivered a powerful and suspenseful romantic novel. Readers and lovers of such will not be disappointed at her writing talent. – Carole Brown, Award-winning Author

Book Two of the Snowy Range Chronicles launches July 8, 2016 –  TODAY!! and propels the series upward to new heights. Suspense takes
on new meaning as the small town of Timber Springs faces the storm of the century during the peak of spring runoff. Paul Fitzgerald and Melissa Hampton must fight the battle of their lives as thunder and lightning reveal more than just rain.

If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same… 

A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin. 
Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread once again.

Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she’s ever loved. 

Can two people find each other through raging waters?

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/tE055Wyzaso

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Through-Raging-Waters-Renee-Blare-ebook/dp/B01HBSB9BM/
(shortened) http://amzn.to/28NQIF3

Renee is giving away one free kindle copy of her novel to a commenter.

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Renee loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Website: http://www.reneeblare.com/
Blog: http://reneeblare.blogspot.com/
Group Blog: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

Singing her heart out

 

The wren out in our lilac bushes sings from the highest place she can find, and nothing’s stopping her. It’s incredible how consistently she lends her cheerful voice to her surroundings.

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Not many feet distant, our delphinium daily shows more color. We’ve been keeping track of this plant’s emersion into a full blues and purple salute.The gradual ascent of pigment (if that’s what it’s called in plant life) delights me. But the key word is gradual, from all-white buds to this: 

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Change sometimes comes suddenly in our lives, but other times, creeps along slowly, so that we hardly notice.  Last night a friend said, “I’m not much of a reader, and especially not during the summer, but I couldn’t put In Times Like These down.”

Wow – considering how long and hard I worked to express Addie’s slow transformation in the backdrop of  World War II, that made my day. Or week…or month!

To Addie, who felt hemmed in and hopeless at times, change couldn’t come fast enough. But it bided its time – as occurs so often does with us. Ooh…but look … this morning, the color has spread farther for Delphie, which is what I’ve started calling my delphinium.

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Meanwhile, our little wren keeps singing her heart out.

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She puts all of herself into her tune. That’s what Addie did, too – her daily chicken chores, gardening, kitchen work, and even unexpected caregiving to an elderly WWI veteran strengthened her during the gradual ascent of her strength. And looking back, we can see that in our “keeping on,” we become more colorful, more empowered. That’s encouragement for today!